Billy Porter criticises Vogue for putting Harry Styles on the cover in a dress: ‘All he had to do is be white and straight’

‘I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned down,’ says actor

Kate Ng
Monday 18 October 2021 15:22 BST
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Billy Porter has criticised US Vogue for choosing to put a photograph of Harry Styles wearing a dress on the cover of its December 2020 issue, saying that all the singer had to do was “be white and straight”.

The Pose star said he had to “fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned down”.

Styles became the first solo male cover star in the history of US Vogue. He was photographed wearing a Gucci dress on the cover.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Porter, 52, said: “I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.

“I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.

“This is politics for me. This is my life,” added Porter. “All he had to do is be white and straight.”

Porter first wore a tuxedo dress, custom-made by designer Christian Siriano, at the 2019 Oscars. At the Met Gala that same year, he wore a Cleopatra-inspired golden catsuit with wings, and arrived at the event in a golden litter carried by six shirtless men.

Earlier this year, he told InStyle magazine: “The reason why women wearing pants is considered OK by society’s standards is because it comes from the patriarchy.

“The patriarchy is male, so suits are strong, and anything feminine is weak. I was so sick of that discussion, and I knew my platform allowed me to challenge it.”

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Porter said: “I changed the whole game. I. Personally. Changed. The. Whole. Game. And that is not ego, that is just fact. I was the first one doing it and now everybody is going it.”

Styles, 27, frequently performs in flamboyant clothing and told US Vogue in December: “Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with.

“What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes.

“I’ve never really thought too much about what it means – it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”

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